Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


HISTORY   AlsfD    HUMAN    RELATIONS

or those of an enemy Power, it would be essential, when
documents are to be published, that editors should
insist on seeing the whole range of original papers,
known or inferred or suspected—seeing the originals
themselves and not mere photostats provided for them:
never saying that they have seen documents if they have
only seen photostats, and never resting content if, say
in the case of a German collection of photostats, they
have seen only copies, possibly reduced in number,
after   rephotographing   in   some   allied   government
department.   It is essential that editors, if they suspect
the existence of further documents, should pursue them
unrelentingly, and, if they fail to find them, should give
an account of this, making it their objett to serve the
historical student rather than to vindicate officialdom,
And supposing there are gaps anywhere in the documen-
tation—particularly in those sinister cases where a gap
may exist at what for the   government   concerned
happens to be a strategic point in the story—then there
should be no limit to the detective work put into the
matter and no limit to the precision in the account that
is given to historical students.   For at some time or
other the world will take notice of this.

It is a mistake to imagine that the influence of govern-
ment would ordinarily operate to-day in the kind of
cases we are considering (any more than in the case of
the Press) by die older, cruder modes of direct censor-
ship ; and both official historians and the general public
are anachronistic when they formulate the issue, as they
sometimes seem to do, in these simple terms. Where
the publication_of .select documents Js concerned tthere

'196